Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Tue Apr 13 10:26:59 PDT 1999

J. Barkley Rosser, Jr. wrote:

> It is conventional to call the UK a lap dog, or whatever,
>and there may be some truth to that. But it is more
>complicated. I think that the British view themselves as
>the better halves of the joint Ango-American imperium,

That's very flattering to the British self-image, but I doubt that anyone in Washington considers the UK anything more than a junior partner - America's "Trojan horse in Europe," as Tariq Ali put it, if you prefer equine to canine metaphors.

> As for the French, they have never been and never will
>be the lapdogs of the US. The Gaullist tradition of opposing
>in an almost knee jerk fashion policies promulgated in London
>and Washington is very much alive and well.

What can I say? Daniel Singer, who lives there, says the Gaullist tradition is dead. I guess we've got a difference of opinion here.

> As for the Germans, they are the clear beneficiaries above
>all others of the pacification and peripheralization of Central and
>Eastern Europe. The Danube theory was way overblown, but
>it is partly true, being really a rather minor piece in a much
>larger puzzle of which it is a part. The Sean Gervasi reports
>on German plotting against the old Yugoslavia should be taken
>seriously and they show the Germans if anything leading the
>Americans in that plotting. And Germany is the dominant
>power of the EU.

That may be, but they still show no signs of being able to organize an autonomous EU policy of their own. If the US were not taking the lead, there would be no bombs falling.

>Over on pkt you put down
>one pathetic putz because he has never been on CNBC and
>you have.

Exactly the reverse, Barkley. What I said was:

>Oh, best place to go to answer an empirical question about the late 20th
>century is to return to a theoretical text from the late 19th. Gosh, why
>didn't I think of that? That must be why you're on CNBC regularly and I'm

>Now, I don't wish to denigrate your performances in
>such locales, but we both know that it is the ability to make a
>quick and effective sound bite that gets one onto such locales,
>not necessarily detailed knowledge. Now, I respect your knowledge
>of financial markets and economic data. But, in this particular
>debate I think that you have not spent enough time living in
>European countries. There is a perspective that one gets from
>living somewhere for an extended period of time, consuming
>its print and other media in its own language, and talking to
>people in their own language, that simply cannot be gotten from
>talking to people at conferences or reading books, no matter
>how brilliant or well written. I think you underestimate the
>independence of the Europeans in all of this.

Yes, I know I should really get out more. In the meanwhile, all I can do is talk to and read smart people who are there, like Daniel Singer and Tariq Ali. And I suspect you are doing little different in Harrisonburg, despite all the stamps on your passport.

I don't doubt European elite and popular support for this glorious little war. What I don't see is any autonomous EU capacity to make important foreign policy or to carry it out - i.e., no political power to correspond to the economic power. There's no EU institution to do that, only a lot of diverse and often contradictory national governments. This crisis may prod the EU into establishing those institutions, but right now, there's no question that the prime mover is our own commander in chief.


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list